tv This Week in Northern California PBS May 4, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm PDT
closed captioning of this program is made possible by the fireman's fund foundation. >> belva: california's recovery could be jeopardized by lower than projected tax revenues and by a court ruling against withholding lawmakers' pay if they don't pass a budget on time. [ cheers ] >> belva: may day demonstrations by labor, immigrant rights, and occupy groups were mainly peaceful with the exception of a few splinter groups. new studies now recommend mammograms for women in their 40s with high risk factors. >> how will communities cope with the collision course between coast and climate? i'm craig miller. i'll ask the head of noaa's
coastal services center in a climate watch conversation coming up. ♪ >> belva: good evening, i'm belva davis, and welcome to "this week in northern california." joining me on our news panel are lisa aliferis, editor for kqed's "state of health." david bacon, new america media's associate editor. and josh richman, bay area news group's political reporter. you're back, josh, with news
about the state budget. that's not new for you. how bad is the news this time? >> pretty bad. you know, when you consider how many dozens of times we've talked about there just on this show, you have to sort of put it in the context of all of those other bads. but the news is that started&poor's said we may be in more trouble. we already have the lowest credit rating of any state, but we may be in more trouble if lawmakers can't bass a balanced budget by the june 15 deadline. we've got two major complications for that. one, we're short on revenues again. we started this calendar year knowing that we had about a $9 billion deficit. and now we've got somewhere in the vicinity of another $3 billion in revenue shortfalls since then. including by controller john
chavez's estimate, $2 billion that we fell short just in april. so it's a pretty dire situation. we're just not pulling in enough money to pay the bills. over the course of the year. at the same time, we had a court ruling in which part of prop 25 from a while ago basically got tossed out. a sacramento judge ruled that the skate controller doesn't have the authority to withhold pay from lawmakers, prop 25 had said that they can't get paid if they don't pass a budget by this deadline. now that wasn't going to save billions of dollars not paying lawmakers. it was meant as a punitive measure. the fact is if they are left to decide whether or not they've done a good job and pass a balanced budget, it doesn't really act as much of a punitive measure at all. >> go ahead. >> no, i was going to say, so we're left if a positin a posit the governor is going to roll out his provision on may 14.
he's been saying for several weeks now that it is not going to be pretty. it's going to involve more cuts. and cuts, frankly, to areas that people don't like cutting. you can't -- can't really make significant cuts to the state budget without touching education, without touching health and human services. >> belva: let's roll back a little bit because you hit three big home runs there in terms of bad news. number one -- number one, why were the revenues -- did anybody give a reason? is the economy not growing at the rate we thought? let's deal with that one first. >> the economy is -- continues to struggle here in california. there are a couple of reasons for that most likely. it -- it's worth noting that the unemployment rate in california upticked in march while it went down nationally. we are having trouble creating and keeping jobs here. and that obviously has a direct effect on revenue and taxes.
and we're still struggling with the housing mortgage meltdown which hit california harder than many other states. this is a very deep hole to try to get ourselves out of it. and what governor brown is saying is that it's getting somewhat better, but we're still challenged. it's going to take years to work our way out. there's got to be a way to balance the budget and pay the bills. it's worth noting that the governor is looking ahead to having a measure on november's ballot that would boost income taxes on -- temporarily for several years on earning over a quarter of a million dollars. it would boost the state sales tax and use tax by half a cent for four years. and 89% of that would go to k-12 education, 11% would go to community colleges because these are the areas that seem so threatened. >> yosh, in relation to the governor's proposal or actually the governor's teachers proposal -- there are a lot of people
besides the governor who are for this, now it appears that there may be other initiatives on the ballot, as well, too. and i think the common wisdom is that the more initiatives there are on the ballot about tax increases, the less likely it is that any one of them is going to pass. the latest one i heard about is this one that's sponsored by this rich german industrialist nicholas fergruen who says he's going to give $20 million to california forward -- >> california forward -- >> for an initiative, this is an organization that last time around proposed an initiative that would actually reduce personal income taxes. >> right. >> so are these spoilers? >> well, the more immediate threat i think that the governor is -- governor's initiative sees is from a competing tax measure that's being put forth and funded by molly monger which would be a tax increase but would not be confined to -- it would be scaled across the
spectrum of income levels. the california forward thing is more of a governance reform thing. but they're also trying to not clutter the november ballot with too many of these things because it's seen by some as a potential spending cap essentially. >> time is -- >> that's looking way ahead to november. >> right. >> meantime they've got to pass a budget. >> they're supposed to pass it by june 15. there have been many years where it stretched to the fall. prop 25 was supposed to cut that short. you know, we'll probably have some sort of budget by june 15. whether it actually works remains to be seen. >> we're out of time. but tell me this -- if the governor prevails and his measures pass, will that fill this $12 billion shortfall you're talking about? in i don't think, but it will help. >> belva: help. >> that's encouraging. >> belva: that's encouraging. well, thank you very much, josh. you have some news, too, that has many answers to critical questions. number one, about the occupy movement and their tactics, where they're going, what they want and the damage that some
people under that banner have done. >> well, looking at what just happened this past week, belva, you know, on may day, i think, first of all, may day was a big success for occupy movements around the country. new york had 30,000 people in the street which of the largest occupy demonstration yet anywhere so far. and here in san francisco, we had a really big one at the corner of market and montgomery street where about 1,000 people shut down the financial district for a couple of hours and talk period the banks and foreclosures -- talked about the banks and foreclosures. in oakland we had a march from the b.a.r.t. station to downtown. here we saw immigrant rights groups and occupy groups basically promoting the idea of equality and rights for immigrants. and there were a lot of other things that happened in the
spectrum of activities that took place on may day. unions, for instance, some got together with occupy to picket the building because ferry worker are trying to get a contract. or nurses, retail workers and janitors at westfield mall. but there were also some incidents in which windows got smashed and property got trashed both on valencia street the night before and then in downtown oakland in the afternoon and evening of may day. >> what about this discussion within occupy about tactics? about whether that kind of action makes send? >> well, i think i have a couple of quotes here actually of -- of people who are on both sides of this. so it kind of gives you the flavor of what the debate is about. so somebody who is in favor of what was taking place, which are these actions that are being conducted by the black block said even to make the most modest gains we have to show that we can fully disrupt the system. in other words, you know, this idea of extreme militancy and
tactics. somebody else who i think not only represents a point of view in occupy but also of a lot of other community organizations and unions who are trying to cooperate with occupy saying the point gets lost in meaningless rumbles with the police. in other words, that the media tends to focus on the violence and on the confrontations with the police. and you don't get any media coverage of 1,000 people sitting down at the intersection of market and montgomery street. >> but the division within occupy itself then suggests it's a -- a movement without a coherent focus. >> i think it -- it suggests a kind of a free-form movement in which first of all what they called in occupy is the idea of diversity of tactics. this is kind of a movement if you think about what the -- our history was or the historic of anarchism in this country where you have a country that doesn't deliberately choose leaders, you
have general assemblies where anybody can participate, where decisions have to be made by consensus. so i think what people do get united around are what they see as the problem. in other words, the 99%, 1%, i think that's an occupy idea. and by now, it's not just an occupy idea. i think it's one that's caught fire with lots and lots of people, the include that we're living in a country in which we're divided between a tiny number of wealthy people and a very large number of people who have very little. >> well, what is -- what is next for occupy? i mean, now we know that -- clearly that there are divisions. not everybody agrees. what does it do to the people that normally got a message out about labor problems or immigrant problems who -- all of that got suppressed. you brought that up. so are those groups becoming impatient with occupy? >> impatient, yes, but i don't think that looking at what's happened in san francisco here, for instance, i don't think
unions are about to give up on occupy at all. in fact, i think there's overlap in some ways between people in occupy who did things like the occupation of the intersection at montgomery and market street and people who did the demonstrations against the wells fargo shareholder meeting the week before. basically protesting against -- on the one hand lots of foreclosures, and on the other hand, lots of profits for the bank. so that alliance i think is a very firm one. and i think that's going to continue. i think what's a lot more up in the air is this question of what occupy's relationship is to the black block and to the people who do the -- you know, the confrontations with police. >> the black block are the kids or people that wear the -- the hoodie shirts, is that -- >> well, the people who wear black, and they wear masks usually to disguise their identity i think. >> belva: so i guess we're in the process of still trying to understand. >> yes. and i think that -- you know, people are debating a lot of other different tactical ideas,
as well, too. you know, should occupy concentrate on, for instance, trying to maintain what they would call their turf or, you know, things like the tent encampment in justin hermann plaza, or on may day they reoccupied a building belonged by the diocese, trying to convert it into a community center. that's one of the ideas. another is the mobile demonstrations that take place during protests. >> belva: the thread between your story andlea lisa's story that people can't always agree. with you, it's women and whether to decide whether or not mammograms or not. >> okay. so the debate is specifically the studies that came out this week were specifically about women in their 40s. so women 50 and over, women 50 to age 74 should continue to get their mammograms. but the debate has been around since the united states
preventive services task force released their guidelines three years ago saying that women this their 40s should talk to their doctor. that they weren't making a firm recommendation either way. and this created a firestorm of controversy. so the studies that came out this week looked at -- looked at a series of data bases of 15 million mammograms, really to see which women in their 40s were most at risk. and these were women with a first-degree relative with breast cancer, a mother, sister, or daughter, or women with diagnosed, dense breast tissue. and so that's when the researchers said these women had reached a tipping point where their risk was equal to that was women this their 50s. and that these women should have a mammogram every other year. not every year. they said that every year the harm would continue to outweigh the benefits. so i should mention just -- a million of these mammograms came from san francisco and marin county. so the national data base --
>> could that be because marin had such a sharp in this topic for years? >> no, it's because there's a local researcher at u.c. san francisco. she contributes from her area, these mammograms are from her area. but this is one in five women in their 40s. and the researchers who published these studies are excited because they say it's leading toward this risk-based screening. now people -- go ahead. >> i was going ask you about other risk factors, lisa. you mentioned two -- dense breast tissue and the history of breast cancer. there are other risk factors for people getting breast cancer, as well, too. people who take oral contraceptives, people who don't have kids, women who have children after they're 30. is that also an indicator that you should get a mammogram? >> these women are at elevated lifetime risk. but the data that -- the researchers looked at specifically and they talked about, they looked also at alcohol. alcohol's been associated with higher risk. but they were looking
specifically at a number of risk factors, and these were the two that they said rose to this tipping point where -- where a woman's risk was -- this is in her 40s, this is not lifetime risk. women in their 40s. so -- i'm sorry. i was go b ing to ask something- >> belva: no, had there been information after this, the announcements, that maybe women shouldn't get the mammograms? >> i spoke with an epidemiologist at u.c. san francisco, one of the co-authors. and she said it was actually after the united states preventive services task force issued their recommendations that the national cancer institute asked for researchers to look more directly at the population of women in their 40s to try and assess when -- you know, who was at highest risk, who should receive mammograms to try and address the question. women this their 40s, of course,
do get breast cancer. >> does cost play into that, as well? >> it was not a question of cost. and the studies were funded by the nci just because there's been so much debate around this. and the other data until this point, the other data -- radiologists will tell you that the data up to this point was old and from outside the u.s. from canada, from europe. but mostly that the data had been collected in the '70s or '80s. so when mammographic technology was different. >> sure. >> and so let's look at current technology. let's look at american women. and let's -- but this is also one study. it confirms what came out last summer. but this is by no means the final word. >> belva: okay, so what harm is done by having these mammograms? >> what can happen is that -- so earnest brawley who wrote an accompanying editorial in the "journal" where the studies were published, he's the chief medical officer of the american cancer society. and he -- he said he worried that mammography had been
oversold to american women. and women have this belief that they have a mammogram, and it will detect anything that's wrong. that it will detect breast cancer, and that they will not die from breast cancer. they will not -- or that it will be caught early, and they won't have to have more serious treatment. but what can happen with younger women because of the way their breasts are is that they can be subjected to false positives where they would then have to have additional screenings. they would then perhaps have to have a biopsy which is a surgical intervention -- >> belva: does it boil down to money, cost, health care costs? >> there is a contributor. there's more question that the more we do to people the more it costs. but the reason that they're looking at it is to try and determine who is going to benefit the most. >> belva: all right, thank you, lisa.
well, threats posed by rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns are changing the way california's coastal communities plan for the future. craig miller has the story in a "climate watch" conversation. >> when you add up all the bays and inlets, california has more than 3,-400 miles of shoreline. several hundred just in the bay area. as the head of the coastal services center for the national oceanic andospheric administration, margaret davidson has her eye firmly on the future of all this shoreline and the threats imposed from rising seas and more extreme weather. davidson is based in south carolina but is a close watcher of california where coast and climb may be on a collision course. when i talk to climatologists about the specific climate threats to california, they usually mention two things first -- water supply issues eventually and sea level rise. the trouble with sea level rise is that it's happening very slowly. it's tough to motivate people -- >> it has been happening very
slowly. it's been happening on a geological time scale which is, of course, very slow. we're seeing a fairly rapid acceleration of rates in the last 100 years. but that's still slow to a normal person's perception. but in the last 10 to 15 years, thought to be associated with things like the melting of the greenland ice sheet in places where it would be first to register like the mid-atlantic to us. we've seen a dramatic rate of acceleration in sea level rise, relative sea level rise. >> the sea level rise that's an insidious thing. people can't really see it happening. but i think a lot of times what they don't get is it's not just the rising sea levels, it's that in combination with the weather, the tides and everything else -- paint that scenario for us. >> well, it's actually not the rate of local sea level rise per se that is the concern. it is the degree to which that amount of water on top of the
volume that we have been knowing is going to contribute to increased, more frequent episodes of flooding and more extensive flooding. and we're already seeing that in certain portions of the bay area. and then if you also combine this with changes in winter precipitation patterns and early snow melt, it's now happening a month to two months earlier than it used to. and that's going to be a confounding problem under a variety of conditions. some of which are distinctly related to local sea level and some of which are related to changing patterns in rainfall. >> and we do have one of those triggers here, the squalid pineapple express -- the so-called pineapple express. atmospheric rivers. one river after another coming off the pacific. that's the fear especially for places like sacramento, which is well inland. >> that old axiom about the
butterfly who flaps its wings in borneo is actually real because the world's big weathermaker used to be boiling up out of those dense forests on the island that we used to call borneo. and they sweep across the pacific. and that drives the weather for the whole continental u.s. is that really big weather coming into the west coast. and of course we've changed those patterns of weather. we've logged much of borneo. we've also changed the cycles of the warm/cool ocean, the who el nino/la nina thing. but we're seeing really big weather patterns that we had not seen before. and like we were just seeing recently, that can shift to the south a great deal. and california suddenly becomes a whole lot wetter in a very short period of time than it's used to. >> there's a plan in development right now in the bay area for an
area known as ocean beach in san francisco, aptly enough because it's the part of san francisco that fronts right on the pacific. takes the full brunt of it. for long-range erosion management plan. they're actually talking about taking a major thoroughfare called the great highway, picking it up and moving it inland. i mean, how -- how much of this are you seeing around the country, and is it -- is that really the kind of thing we're looking at? well, i certainly think in the case of ocean beach, which i understand there's a highly erowsive environment, that if if you actually want to have this pocket urban beach and its amenities in the future, you're going to have to give it room to move as it were. >> well, that project might add up from what i've seen to $100 million. that's just to deal with a very tiny slice of the california coast. you look at what would have to be done all up and down the coast and in the bays and inlets of california, you're talking about more than 800 miles of coastline, the costs coming at
us are costs that we haven't had to face before either. >> even as we think about reinvesting in public infrastructure in this country, which we should do and in fact we must do if we think we want to remain economically competitive in the world markets, i'm hoping that we will have the sensibility to also think about the hazards and climate resilience of our infrastructure. so let us not just design our roads and our sewers and our flooding systems for the conditions that we have known. let us think about how we site and design that critical infrastructure for the conditions that are very likely to occur over the next 30 to 50 years. >> margaret davidson, thanks for taking a few minutes with us. >> certainly, craigs. happy to help. >> belva: well, now welcome news on the environmental front. after years of declining numbers, california's king salmon are finally making a comeback. state fish and game official are
predicting that this could be the biggest salmon run since 2005. to help kick off the commercial salmon season, last week fishermen flocked to the harbor to take part in a 100-year-old tradition -- the annual blessing of the fleet. >> god bless your going out and coming in. belle congresswoman jackie speer was on hand with local businesses who hope the surge help the industry recover from a series of poor harvests. and if the commercial fishermen have as much luck as these sports fishermen had that day, we could all be able to fire up our barbecues as early as this weekend. well, that's all for tonight. my thanks to all of you for joining us here this evening. visit us any time at kqed.org/thisweek. for past episodes, to subscribe to our newsletter and our podcast, and to share your thoughts about the program.